Fine Woodcarving and Sculpture
DSC_0290.JPG

John's 200 Year Old Chisels | Maine Woodcarver | Fine Carvings and Sculpture

The Master's tools

 

It takes a very special set of tools to work in a medium as challenging and unforgiving as wood.

John's tools waited more than 200 years to find their way into his hands. In a divine twist of fate and good fortune, John Bryan purchased a special set of 120 chisels that had been neglected in an estate attic for over 100 years. To his delight, he discovered that these chisels had been forged over 200 years ago by the artisan toolmakers, Addis, during one of the greatest woodcarving periods in the history of the world.

 
 
They were made by artists for an artist to use.
— John Bryan
Screenshot (93).png

These chisels were hand-forged and annealed in a process so refined that many consider these tools as works of art in their own right.

As evidenced by his new set's pristine blades, most of the Addis chisels had never been sharpened or used since their original forging. It was as if the tools had been made for him to discover, and that the marriage between artist and chisels was meant to be rekindled in a more modern world. Much like fabled Japanese swordsmith Masamune, the Addis toolmakers created legendary tools that stand as a testament to their craft. It is this very set of chisels that John Bryan now uses to carve his masterworks. 

 
 
When they are sharp, they are the best on the planet.
— John Bryan

All shapes and sizes

There are many different types of chisels in John's arsenal and each was created for a specific task. The sizes vary in terms of thickness of the steel, the ends width and profile and curvature, or "sweep" of the blade. Chisels with sweeps are called gouges. V-parting tools have "v" shaped profiles. Flat blades are referred to as chisels. Some chisels have bent shafts and some have bent ends. All evolved from a carver's need to access various parts of a carving, and are kept razor sharp using stones to hone them. 

 
DSC_0401.JPG
 
The metallurgy is really remarkable - they are hand forged, hand hardened and hand annealed. These chisels stay sharp longer than any modern chisel I have.
— John Bryan

Talking about destiny

John's tools waited a century or more to find their way into his hands. The set of chisels he uses are heavily collected artworks in their own right, and are fit for a museum. John believes that these tools have souls - they were created for a purpose and will remain unfulfilled if they are sitting in a collector's display. Using them to create incredible wooden art pieces opens the door for timeless results. Carving with these tools restores the relationship between artist and these chisels - as it was upon their creation.